Editorial June - July 2016 - part 1 of 1 2

by Mike McNamee Published 01/07/2016

Welcome to our June issue of Professional Imagemaker, I hope the weather is more like June than the stuff we are getting in April! This issue we concentrate on 'look' - that indefinable characteristic of style we all know but find hard to verbalise. The feature arose out of curiosity about the methods that people use for what I call the 'classic Nike look'. It quickly became apparent that there were almost as many workflows as there were image creators. As ever, though, the Societies' members came up with a generous helping of images and descriptions and so the 'feature' expanded into something quite a lot larger - we even have fellowship panels from Angie Adams and Terry Donnelly which fit the bill perfectly. The 'photo effects' landscape has recently altered dramatically with Google making Nik Efex available as a free download - we remain suspicious about what they are up to and if they have a hidden agenda, but for the moment enjoy this free entry to the world of image effects!

As always with these 'big features' I have ended up knowing a lot more than when I started. Alistair Campbell's piece on The Great Gatsby is a case in point. As I dug deeper and deeper into his theme I have ended up with four F Scott Fitzgerald novels, the A-level scholar's notes on Gatsby and a DVD of the 2013 film (Carey Mulligan might just have had something to do with that purchase!). The page layout also sent us off on a mission to understand Art Deco design where we found some nice new techniques of using Smart Layers and Smart Filters in Photoshop as well as rolling text and metalwork designs across from Adobe Illustrator. There also seems to be a whole industry based on stationery for Gatsby-themed wedding parties!

Another thing that became apparent as we gathered material was the wide divergence of approach to the creation process. At one end we have Alistair Campbell with a very hands off 'all-in-camera' approach backed by professional propping and make-up. At the other end we have Angie Adams who made all the armour for her images! Parallel, we have Tracy Willis who assembles her complex stories from lots of images before harmonising with effects through Photoshop actions. A wide set of approaches then but with the common aim of arriving at a coherent style - that is what 'look' is all about.

Perhaps there is a piece of advice for prospective qualification-panel builders - adding a look is a good way of harmonising a panel, bringing it to a common theme and style. However, you need to choose carefully and appropriately, an imposed style only works if it is sympathetic to the images. There is also a danger that the style you have in mind might have become a bit passé by the time you have assembled your panel - HDR look is getting past its sell-by date already, exaggerated tonal values in landscape are starting to annoy judges have been warned!

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1st Published 01/07/2016
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